Good news, bad news in giant Takata air bag settlement

Over the past few years, Eastern Kentucky media outlets have reported on the deaths and injuries resulting from failures of Takata air bags. The good news is that the Japanese manufacturer has reached a $650 million settlement of the claims. Bad news: according to reports, the company’s financial woes means that less than one-fourth of the amount will go to consumers.

The Takata air bag recall was the largest automobile recall in U.S. history.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said the deal is part of holding the company responsible for the fatalities and injuries caused by the failures of the air bags. The settlement is part of a criminal plea agreement Takata has made with the U.S. Justice Department.

Over the past decade, legal claims over the air bags have been filed in 44 states, according to news reports. Critics have for years charged that under certain conditions the air bags will explode and send damaging, potentially lethal shrapnel flying in car interiors.

The faulty inflators are blamed in at least 22 deaths and more than 180 injuries.

A Minnesota woman who was in a 2014 crash was blinded by the shrapnel.

“The airbag just deployed and it exploded and I told my husband, ‘I can’t see anything,’” said the woman. “He was on the phone with 911 and I said ‘I can’t see anything. I’m totally blind.’”

The settlement calls for Takata to pay $125 million to victims. However, lawsuits, recalls and fines resulted in last year’s bankruptcy for the company.

The Law Office of Richard Hay represents clients who have been harmed by defective air bags or seat belts. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.